2023 USPS Rate and Service Changes

June 29th, 2023 Comments off
Learn more about the proposed 2022 USPS Peak Surcharges.

Effective July 9, 2023, USPS will be implementing updates to various services. These updates will involve modifications to Hazardous Material (HazMat) labels and the introduction of a new service called USPS Ground Advantage™. Although these changes are quickly approaching, we are committed to providing you with all the essential details to ensure you are well-prepared.

What is USPS Ground Advantage™?

USPS Ground Advantage is a new service that combines domestic Parcel Select Ground, Retail Ground, and the domestic iteration of the First-Class Package Service. USPS Ground Advantage can be used for packages up to 70 pounds and 130 inches in length + girth but will compare actual and DIM weights like other USPS services. Other USPS Ground Advantage features include up to $100 in free insurance and a delivery window of 2-5 business days. 

Please note that if you have any outbound or return labels connected to the services that will no longer be available, USPS will continue to accept and process those labels until September 30, 2023.

HazMat label updates 

Back in April, we originally reported that some USPS HazMat changes would take effect in the spring. However, the Dangerous Goods Service Type Code (STC) updates and the new barcode banner text will now be implemented with the upcoming July 9th changes. As a reminder, USPS considers hazardous materials to be anything that can cause harm to people, property, or packages/mail. More information on USPS hazardous materials can be found on their website. 

USPS HazMat labels will include updated Dangerous Goods STCs, which are numerical sequences that categorize a package’s mail classification and attributes. This helps your package be handled properly and efficiently by the USPS. Additionally, the banner barcode text will now indicate that the package contains hazardous goods. 

Highlights of the July 2023 changes 

  • USPS will raise the price of its first-class stamps to 66 cents, an increase of 4.8% from its current 63 cents.
  • Parcel Select Ground, Retail Ground, and the domestic First-Class Package Service will become USPS Ground Advantage™. 
  • HazMat labels will now include updated Dangerous Goods STCs and new banner barcode text.

For more information on the upcoming USPS changes, visit the Learning Center.

Also, if you missed the January 2023 USPS rate and service changes, you can find them below!

The United States Postal Service’s 2023 rate and service changes have been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), and the updates will take effect on January 22, 2023. We’re going to address all of the upcoming changes, so you’ll have time to adjust accordingly and prevent negative shipping experiences for your customers.

Important USPS 2023 rate and service changes

More detailed highlights of the upcoming changes are: 

  • Priority Mail® commercial rates will see an increase of 3.6%, keeping them below the rate of inflation
  • Priority Mail Express® will see an increase of 6.7%
  • First-Class Package Service will see an increase of 7.8%
  • Priority Mail service prices will see an increase of around 5.5%
  • USPS First Class Package International rates will see an increase of 6.2%
  • USPS Priority Mail International® will see an increase of 5.9%
  • USPS Priority Mail Express International® will see an increase of 5.9%
  • Zone 1, Zone 2, and Local have traditionally seen the same shipping rates. However, Local will now be combined with Zone 1, and Zones 1 and 2 will have individual rates 
  • The pricing for Parcel Select Ground won’t see any rate increases
  • Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes® will no longer be available
  • All Canadian Zones will be combined into one pricing zone for USPS Priority Mail International
  • Commercial Base and Commercial Plus will be merged into one entity

Flat Rate Priority Mail changes

Flat Rate envelopes and boxes will be included in the 3.6% increase for Priority Mail services. USPS will continue offering Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes and boxes through their website. Also, you’ll be able to order some of these supplies directly from your Stamps.com account.

Local Zone changes

Previously, Local, Zone 1, and Zone 2 all had the same shipping rates. Moving forward, there will no longer be a Local Zone, and Zones 1 and 2 will have two different shipping rates. If your business ships to customers who live close by or in the same state, you’ll see the impact of this change. The changes will be more noticeable when you’re shipping to customers in Zone 2, which is a 51-150 mile radius. 

Regional Rate Boxes are being retired 

Regional Rate A & B Boxes, used for 15-20 pound shipments traveling a short distance, will be discontinued. If your business uses Regional Rate Boxes after January 23, 2023, USPS will accept your shipment, but the cost won’t be calculated in the same way Regional Rate Boxes were. For this reason, USPS recommends using these materials by January 22. Additionally, check the automation rules currently running on your Stamps.com Online account to ensure this service isn’t applied to any of your shipments. 

Priority Mail® Cubic will still be an option for shippers, as it has seen a rise in popularity, and sometimes even offers a lower rate than what was seen with Regional Rate Boxes. The biggest difference with Priority Mail Cubic is that supplies aren’t free. Parcel Select Ground offers: 

  • An estimated delivery window of 2-5 days 
  • A service for shipments up to 20 pounds 
  • Uses the Commerical rates with your Stamps.com account 

How will the 2023 changes impact international shipping?

The biggest change to international shipments will involve your Canadian packages. Similar to the US Zones, Canada was previously broken down into 8 different pricing groups. Now, all of Canada will fall under Pricing Group 1. Also, USPS will change Turkey to Turkiye, so don’t be alarmed if the spelling of the country is updated on your labels to reflect this update. 

How can Stamps.com help?

In our recent study, 30.3% of customers stated that delivery costs were the most important factor in deciding whether or not they’d purchase from a business; the second most important factor was the speed of delivery. Rising USPS costs could mean raising shipping costs for your customers. However, you can still enjoy the discounted shipping rates included with your Stamps.com account to help offset these costs. 

Start your free 30-day trial today on Stamps.com.

How to Find a Lost USPS Letter or Package

July 10th, 2023 Comments off

Shipments can sometimes be lost during transit, including orders to your customers. How do you help customers who are reaching out for assistance? USPS provides resources to try to locate missing mail and packages, and the USPS Mail Recovery Center serves as the hub for lost items. We also have tips to prevent packages from going missing in the first place. If you’re feeling lost about lost packages, you’ve found the right blog. 

Tips to prevent lost packages

  • Confirm the address before sending, especially for communal living spaces 
  • Purchase additional insurance for high-cost items like jewelry or electronics
  • Enable tracking notifications so customers know when their package will arrive
  • Include labels on the inner packaging in case the outer label is damaged or illegible
  • Label your package clearly and legibly and use tape to cover the label to avoid damage

USPS Mail Recovery Center

As we mentioned earlier, the USPS Mail Recovery Center acts as a centralized location for lost mail and packages. All packages and mail are examined upon arrival. If packages or envelopes are deemed valuable (over $25 in merchandise or over $20 in cash), they will be opened by USPS personnel to try to reunite the items with their sender or recipient. Mail with a barcode will be kept for 60 days, and mail without a barcode will be kept for 30 days. After this time frame, items will be donated, thrown away or recycled, or auctioned off.

Steps to search for missing mail 

USPS offers free resources to try to track down missing mail and packages. The first step is to track your package, followed by submitting a couple of different forms. This process is designed to give USPS detailed information about your package to hopefully increase the chance of it being found. 

Track your package 

The first step is to track your package. It might seem straightforward, but checking the tracking details of your shipment might show where/if the package was disrupted in transit. The tracking information will also show delays or if a package is being held at the post office for pickup. We recommend taking screenshots or writing down the tracking information shown because USPS may ask for this information later on. 

Complete the missing mail search form 

If entering the tracking information doesn’t provide answers, fill out a missing mail search form. This form will ask for your shipment’s tracking number, carrier service, and other attributes. Be as specific as possible and answer as many questions as you can. 

Fill out a missing mail search request

After tracking your shipment and completing the missing mail search form, wait seven business days. If your package still hasn’t reached its destination, you’ll fill out a missing mail search request. USPS does require you to create an account to access the form, but account creation is free. The missing mail request will ask questions about the contents of your package as well as the packaging used and any identifying details. USPS also recommends sending pictures of your shipment if possible. 

Additional steps for missing mail 

Once you’ve submitted a missing mail search request, check for a confirmation email from USPS; updates will also be sent via email. Recovered mail will be sent to its destination. However, if a package is deemed unsafe, it won’t be eligible to move forward in transit. It’s also important to note that some packages are unable to be found. 

If your package is unable to be recovered or you used a guaranteed service and/or a service with included insurance, you can: 

Shipping insurance 

Priority Mail® and Priority Mail Express® each include $100 of insurance for eligible shipments. This insurance doesn’t come with an additional cost and is a benefit of using the services. If your package is lost or damaged, you can send a claim to USPS for potential reimbursement. To file a claim with USPS, you’ll need to create a free account. Additionally, confirm your claim is being filed within the following timeframes: 

  • Priority Mail Express®: Between 7-60 days*
  • Priority Mail COD: 15-60 days* 
  • Priority Mail®: 15-60 days* 

*Note: Claims should be filed before 60 days. 

Lastly, collect all of the documentation listed by USPS before submitting your claim. This way, you can fill out your claim and help prevent having to resubmit information. If you’re filing a claim for a customer, let them know to keep all of the packaging and information they have until USPS resolves your claim. USPS outlines the documentation needed to file a claim we’ve included below, and additional information can be found on their website.* 

*Note: This information is directly from the USPS website, so we recommend reaching out to USPS with any questions. 

Tracking or Label Number

  • The tracking or label number is found on your online label record, package label, mailing receipt, or sales receipt. Tracking and label numbers are between 13 and 34 characters.

Evidence of Insurance Purchased

  • Any of these items show evidence of insurance:
  • Original mailing receipt issued at the time of mailing
  • Outer packaging showing the names and addresses of the sender and the addressee and the proper label showing that the article was sent insured
  • Printed electronic online label record or computer printout from the application used to print the label and purchase the insurance

NOTE: USPS may not legally pay compensation for uninsured lost or damaged articles. If your uninsured mail is missing or delayed you may request a Missing Mail Search.

Proof of Value

Proof of value is the cost or value of an item when it was mailed. Any of these can be used to show proof of value:

  • Sales receipt
  • Paid invoice or paid bill of sale
  • Statement of value and/or estimates of repair costs from a reputable dealer
  • Credit card billing statement
  • Receipt of costs incurred for reconstruction of non-negotiable documents
  • Printouts of the online transaction identifying the purchaser and seller, price paid, date of transaction, description of item purchased, and assurance that the transaction status is completed

Proof of Damage

Photos that clearly show the extent of damage will help with your case. For damaged claims, you’ll also need to provide an estimate of the repair costs from a reputable dealer.

  • Save the original packaging and everything in the package until your claim is settled.
  • Do not throw out damaged items, even after you photograph them.
  • Do not reship items that were not damaged. Save them with the damaged items.
  • You may be asked to take the entire package to your local Post Office™ facility for inspection.

How to add delivery confirmation in Stamps.com 

Another way to decrease the risk of lost packages is with delivery confirmation. Delivery confirmation comes at no additional cost when using Priority Mail®. This feature provides information about the time, date, and zip code of when the package was signed for. Also, delivery confirmation will show a delivery attempt if your package couldn’t be delivered. 

To add delivery confirmation on Stamps.com Online: 

Select the Tracking drop-down menu under the Mail Tab of your dashboard and click Signature Required. 

To use delivery confirmation with Stamps.com PC Software: 

Once you select the mail class for your package, go to the Packages Tab on your dashboard. For shipments using Priority Mail Express®, click the Delivery Options button and select Signature Required. 

If you’re using another service, select the Tracking drop down menu and then click Signature Confirmation.

Delivery confirmation information is available for up to a year after the delivery date. You can receive a copy of your recipient’s address by calling USPS at 1-800-222-1811 on Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM ET. Signatures can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to you directly. Mail requests are sent through First-Class Mail® and are usually delivered within 2-3 business days. Fax requests are typically completed within two hours and can be received 24/7. 

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USPS HAZMAT Label Update 2023

June 15th, 2023 Comments off

Update: The mentioned STC and banner changes will now go into effect on July 9, 2023, and the implementation of 2D barcodes will begin on January 21, 2024.

On April 30, hazardous material (HAZMAT) labels will be updated to comply with new USPS regulations. Changes include updated Dangerous Goods STCs (Service Types Codes) and new IMpb label banner text. Alongside these changes, USPS is recommending the implementation of 2D IMpb™ GS1 Data Matrix barcodes in addition to the traditional IMpb barcode. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the upcoming changes as well as some reminders for shipping hazardous materials. 

What is HAZMAT?

According to USPS, hazardous materials, or HAZMAT, are “any matter having a clear potential for causing harm to the mail, persons, or property involved in moving the mail.” This classification is at the discretion of USPS and does include items like camp stoves, chainsaws, and other items that use fuel. For more tips on packaging USPS HAZMAT shipments, visit the USPS website to utilize their HAZMAT Search Tool

HAZMAT label changes 

For the first change, HAZMAT labels will now feature two 2D IMpd™ barcodes. The new barcodes contain the same information as the existing IMpb barcodes and will help optimize processing automation and minimize distortion, printer errors, and increase the ability for labels to be scanned. The barcode banner text will also now read: USPS TRACKING # HAZMAT. This increase in visibility will improve the shipping experience for both you and your customers. 

The second change will include new Dangerous Goods Service Type Codes, or STCs, and new IMpd label banner text. STCs are numeric codes that identify a package’s mail classification and characteristics. This way, packages can be handled appropriately as they move through transit. 

No action is needed 

All merchants using Stamps.com won’t need to add any new steps to their shipping workflow; labels created for hazardous materials will automatically include the new format. You can declare special contents for shipments containing hazardous materials through the steps found below and in our Learning Center. 

Stamps.com Online 

  1. Locate the Mail Tab on your dashboard and select Extra Services.
  2. Click on the Handling drop down menu and choose which Special Contents apply to your shipment. 
  3. Save your selection.
  4. After clicking save, the Special Contents Warning page will appear. Agree to the terms shown. This window will then close. 
  5. Exit the Extra Services page.

Stamps.com PC Software 

  1. Select Add’l Options from the Package tab.
  2. Find the Handling drop down menu and choose which Special Contents apply to your shipment. 
  3. After the Special Contents Warning window opens, agree to the terms given. 
  4. Click Okay. 
  5. Exit the Additonal Services window.

Start your 30-day free trial with Stamps.com today. 


HAZMAT Search Tool

USPS HAZMAT guidelines and restrictions 

USPS TV’s Guide to Mailing Hazardous Materials 

Categories: USPS News Tags:

How to Get a Refund for Late Delivery on Priority Mail Express

April 4th, 2023 Comments off
Refund for PME Blog

We’ve all been in a position where we need something shipped in a rush, whether it be a forgotten birthday gift or a last-minute holiday present. This includes your customers. There will be times customers might ask for expedited shipping on an order, so it can arrive in time for a special occasion. Priority Mail Express® is a great carrier service for customers in need of expedited delivery. Plus, Priority Mail Express® includes a guaranteed delivery date, so you can request a refund if your package doesn’t arrive within the given delivery window. 

Features of Priority Mail Express® 

Priority Mail Express® includes: 

  • A next-day to 2-day delivery guarantee (by 6PM)
  • Flat rate packaging options and free supplies from USPS 
  • Tracking throughout your shipment’s entire transit 
  • Up to $100 worth of shipment insurance included 
  • The option for holiday and Sunday delivery for an extra cost 

Additionally, Priority Mail Express® includes a money-back guarantee. However, it’s worth noting that Priority Mail Express® refund requests do take other factors into consideration like the recipient’s zip code and when your package was dropped off. USPS provides a free Service Commitments tool, so you can see which services are guaranteed as well as estimated delivery dates for each available USPS service. More information about Priority Mail Express® refund requests can be found on the USPS website. 

Priority Mail Express® refunds 

If your Priority Mail Express® shipment doesn’t arrive on time and meets USPS requirements, you can request a refund for the shipping costs of your package. Refund requests can be submitted through the USPS website, and you’ll need to create a free account to start the process.   

Priority Mail Express® refunds need to be submitted within 2-30 days of the date the package was mailed*, and you’ll need the receipt and tracking number to successfully submit the request. You can find your postage receipt through these steps: 

  • Login to Stamps.com 
  • Click on the History tab on your dashboard 
  • Select Search Print History 
  • Locate the tracking number for the order you’re requesting the refund for 
  • Click on the info box (i) next to the tracking number 
  • Print the physical copy of your receipt*

*Note: For those using the Stamps.com software, you’ll first click Search on the left-hand side of your screen and then click the info box next to the correct tracking number to generate your receipt. 

Priority Mail Express International® refunds 

Like Priority Mail Express®, certain Priority Mail Express International® are eligible for refund requests. One of the biggest differences between the two is that refund requests for Priority Mail Express International® shipments can only be submitted for the following countries: 

Image courtesy of USPS

Priority Mail Express International® shipments will also need to be filed with USPS directly through their website and must be submitted within 3-90 days of when your package was shipped.  


Priority Mail Express® gives customers an expedited shipping option, so their packages can arrive quickly. Also, the option to request a refund for eligible shipments provides a safeguard for your business if the package arrives late. If you’re an international shipper, Priority Mail Express International® can be offered to your customers as an expedited option and includes a similar refund request option for eligible packages. Help your customers receive their packages in the nick of time with Priority Mail Express® and Priority Mail Express International ®.  

Start your 30-day free trial with Stamps.com today.

New Harmonized Code Requirement Coming March 1

April 26th, 2023 Comments off
New Harmonized Code Requirement Coming

Beginning March 1, 2023, all shipments to and passing through most countries in the EU will need Harmonized System tariff codes, or HS codes, included on customs forms. More detailed descriptions will be required, meaning general descriptions like “clothing” or “electronics” won’t be accepted. According to the USPS, reasons for the upcoming change are important because they “improve speed and efficiency of cross-border ecommerce” and “meet safety and security requirements, preventing delays, fines, and penalties for noncompliance.” The full list of countries impacted by this change can be found on the USPS website

What are HS codes?

HS codes are numerical values given to all goods shipped to countries outside the United States. These codes were created and assigned by the World Customs Organization (WCO); a full list of HS codes can be found on the WCO website. Let’s go through a set of HS codes as an example.

Say you’re shipping coffee to a customer, and the HS code is 090111. Here’s what the numbers within your HS code represent: 

  • 09 – The chapter, or first two digits, is used to identify your product’s category
  • 01 – The heading, or second two digits, is used to define your product’s attributes
  • 11 – The subheading, or last two digits, combines the chapter and heading of your product 

In this case, the chapter would be coffee, the heading might be decaffeinated and roasted, and the subheading would classify your product as coffee, decaffeinated and roasted. 

GlobalPost HS Codes Infographic

Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Descriptions 

Vague item descriptions on custom forms such as “gifts,” “clothing,” and even “none” will no longer be considered acceptable descriptions. It’s best practice to have accurate and specific product descriptions that clearly describe the items being traded. 

Unacceptable Acceptable
ClothesMen’s cotton shirts, girls’ leather vets, boys’ denim jackets
Fresh HerbsBasil, thyme, parsley 
Sanitary goods Detergent, toothbrush, towels 
GiftOne scented candle, remote-controlled car, silk scarf

Why do HS codes matter?

HS codes help customs offices and departments identify the contents of your package so the proper taxes and duties are applied. Adhering to the new guidelines can prevent your shipments from being held up at customs and/or returned to your business. Also, HS codes help bypass language barriers because items are classified uniformly and easily translated. 

GlobalPost HS Code resources

If you aren’t sure how to classify your product, our partner carrier, GlobalPost, will provide their customers with two free classification services: the On Demand HS Classification Tool and the free HS Code Fulfillment Service. 

The On Demand HS Classification Tool is a searchable database designed to shorten the amount of time spent finding a product’s HS code. This tool is perfect if your business ships a small number of international orders, as you can search for up to five free classifications daily. There are also no additional requirements to use this tool. 

The free HS Code Fulfillment Service takes the hassle out of finding the HS code. If your business is using GlobalPost for international shipping, GlobalPost will assign the HS code once your shipment reaches the GlobalPost warehouse as long as you have a description of your products. The same goes for customs forms. Shipments sent using GlobalPost don’t need printed customs forms, as GlobalPost will assign forms once a shipment arrives at their facility. 

The inclusion of HS codes being mandated for shipments to the EU may seem like additional work. However, HS codes can shorten the amount of time your shipment sits in customs. It also decreases the chance of returned shipments or the incorrect amount of taxes and duties being applied.

If your business ships a higher volume of international shipments, consider using GlobalPost as your carrier of choice. Using GlobalPost eliminates searching for HS codes on your own, as GlobalPost’s Free HS Code Fulfillment Service will apply HS codes to your shipments for you. For more information on the new mandate for HS codes, we recommend reaching out to trade experts and service providers or visiting the World Customs Organization (WCO) website. 

Note: This blog will be updated as we receive news regarding the new EU HS code requirements, so check back for new/additional information. 

Categories: USPS News Tags:

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